MANILA — Eco-tourism site Masungi Georeserve has reported that a portion of its reforestation area in Rizal province has been blocked by a quarry company.
“On February 26, we received a report that a section of our reforestation site has been fenced off by a quarry company,” Billie Dumaliang, Masungi Georeserve trustee and advocacy officer, told ABS-CBN News Thursday.
“This is about 50 meters long and goes right through an area we were cleaning for new reforestation plots and a new trail for volunteers,” she said.
“The fence will effectively prevent us from doing much needed reforestation work there.”
Dumaliang said the men who put up the fences hammered barbed wires on the tree trunks, as seen on photos she shared.
She said the men could not show them any fencing permits or documents.
“The community is already losing water and quarrying definitely has no place inside the conservation and protected area,” she said.
Masungi Georeserve is an award-winning conservation project that has become a popular eco-tourism site in Baras, Rizal. Alongside eco-tourism efforts, the group behind it continues to reforest areas that were made barren by illegal logging and quarrying.
Just recently, they opened a new “Legacy Trail” where they show tourists the effects of illegal logging while teaching them how to plant trees.
In a video posted on Facebook, Masungi Georeserve pointed out that the areas fenced for quarrying is part of the project signed with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
“It is also part of a larger protected area ‐‐the Upper Marikina River Protected Landscape ‐ where quarrying and other extractive activities are banned. These areas are also classified by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau as a geohazard zone,” Masungi Georeserve wrote.
It pointed out that the area is a source of water for the local population. It is also “what gives protection against massive landslides and flashfloods. The destruction brought by typhoon Ondoy started in these heavily degraded areas.”
“We reached out to quarry operator asking them to spare the area and the Masungi Geopark Project. Instead, they started their fencing activity today,” the group said.
“We are still hopeful that they will reconsider.”
ABS-CBN News reached out to DENR for comment. It is also trying to contact the quarry company involved.